Learn About Guitar Pickups + Electronics + Wiring

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"I wired this guitar, but it didn't work. Can you fix it?" Trade Secrets! Issue 162 April 12, 2012
"I wired this guitar, but it didn't work. Can you fix it?"
Is it a good idea when a repair shop recommends that a customer try some do-it-yourself wiring? Erick Coleman's customer rewired a Les Paul, but ran into trouble. Now Erick's re-rewiring...
Watch the Trade Secrets Video, 1966 Telecaster pickup torn down and rewound
Online video available
Trade Secrets! Issue 199 September 12, 2013
1966 Telecaster pickup torn down and rewound
Erick Coleman has a 50-year-old pickup that's nearly dead: It's making a little bit of sound, but not much. Erick opens it up to find the trouble, and we get a good view of the guts of this vintage Fender pickup before he rewinds it.
Acoustic guitar pickups: installation problems to avoid Trade Secrets! Issue 7 December 07, 2006
Acoustic guitar pickups: installation problems to avoid
In this week's newsletter, bad sound from a good acoustic guitar pickup: the problem and the solution.
An emergency pickup transplant for Skeletonwitch Trade Secrets! Issue 126 November 11, 2010
An emergency pickup transplant for Skeletonwitch
Erick Coleman gets an urgent call on a Friday night: the Heavy Metal band Skeletonwitch needs some custom pickup work in time to head to Ozzfest in 24 hours!
Barden Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-BARDEN
Barden Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Barden Humbucking pickups.
Benedetto Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-BENEDETTO
Benedetto Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Benedetto Humbucking pickups.
Day of the Zombie: curing an undead Telecaster pickup Trade Secrets! Issue 89 June 11, 2009
Day of the Zombie: curing an undead Telecaster pickup
The multimeter tells Erick Coleman that this pickup is dead, but nobody told the pickup: it's still playing!
DiMarzio Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-DIMARZIO
DiMarzio Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for DiMarzio Humbucking pickups.
Five-Star Banjo Pickup Product Instructions I-3250
Five-Star Banjo Pickup
Installation instructions for the Five-Star Banjo Pickup.
Fixing (and breaking!) a 1957 Gibson P-90 pickup Trade Secrets! Issue 175 October 11, 2012
Fixing (and breaking!) a 1957 Gibson P-90 pickup
After 55 years, the original owner sells a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior because the pickup's dead. Erick Coleman tells the story of bringing that pickup back to life.
Fixing an acoustic pickup fast—it has to be onstage in an hour! Trade Secrets! Issue 57 March 20, 2008
Fixing an acoustic pickup fast—it has to be onstage in an hour!
Dan Erlewine does some emergency surgery on an undersaddle transducer in time for it to make it on stage with Emmylou Harris.
Gibson Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-GIBSON
Gibson Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Gibson Humbucking pickups.
Golden Age Bass Pickups Product Instructions I-5412
Golden Age Bass Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Golden Age bass pickups.
Golden Age Lipstick Humbucking Pickup Instructions Product Instructions I-5426
Golden Age Lipstick Humbucking Pickup Instructions
Wiring diagrams and color codes
Golden Age Lipstick Single-coil Pickup Instructions Product Instructions I-5427
Golden Age Lipstick Single-coil Pickup Instructions
Wiring diagrams
Golden Age Pickups for Tele Instructions Product Instructions I-5410
Golden Age Pickups for Tele Instructions
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Golden Age Tele pickups.
Golden Age Single-coil Pickups Product Instructions I-5422
Golden Age Single-coil Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Golden Age Single-coil pickups.
Watch the Trade Secrets Video, Good tone from 0-10: easy clip-on mod
Online video available
Trade Secrets! Issue 182 January 17, 2013
Good tone from 0-10: easy clip-on mod
Trade Secrets On The Road: Dan Erlewine visits the repair shop at Herb David Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He brings back this great, simple tone tip from repairman Brian Delaney.
Gotoh Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-GOTOH
Gotoh Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Gotoh Humbucking pickups.
Homemade hand drill pickup winder Product Instructions A-HOMEMADEWINDER
Homemade hand drill pickup winder
How to turn a power drill into a pickup winder.
How to choose the right pickup for your acoustic guitar Trade Secrets! Issue 73 October 30, 2008
How to choose the right pickup for your acoustic guitar
Erick Coleman clears up the confusion about acoustic pickups: separating them into different types and helping you figure out what's what.
Watch the Trade Secrets Video, How to fit a Les Paul pickup ring to the curved top
Online video available
Trade Secrets! Issue 192 June 06, 2013
How to fit a Les Paul pickup ring to the curved top
Don't ruin your pickup rings by skipping this step! Dan Erlewine nibbles, files, scrapes and sands to create a curve that matches the top of his Les Paul.
How to rewind a 1959 Strat pickup Trade Secrets! Issue 77 December 25, 2008
How to rewind a 1959 Strat pickup
Erick Coleman shows how to rewind a vintage singlecoil in a 1959 Strat.
It's a crime to cut pickup leads this short! Trade Secrets! Issue 100 November 12, 2009
It's a crime to cut pickup leads this short!
Erick Coleman has been rooting around in the parts drawers at Dan Erlewine's shop, and he's found a 1960s Gibson patent-sticker humbucker. It would be valuable if somebody hadn't cut off the pickup lead. Erick shows how to fix that.
Lawrence Research Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-LAWRENCE
Lawrence Research Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Lawrence Research Humbucking pickups.
Lindy Fralin Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-FRALIN
Lindy Fralin Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Lindy Fralin Humbucking pickups.
Watch the Trade Secrets Video, Lindy Fralin on how to set pickup height
Online video available
Trade Secrets! Issue 208 January 16, 2014
Lindy Fralin on how to set pickup height
Lindy Fralin, of Lindy Fralin Pickups, shows how he sets pickup heights. Lindy shows it's not about measuring, it's about listening. Recorded at last summer's Northwoods Seminar in Michigan.
Moneytalk: Quickly installing an acoustic pickup Trade Secrets! Issue 133 February 17, 2011
Moneytalk: Quickly installing an acoustic pickup
In our Money Talk series about operating a repair business, Dan Erlewine tallies up the time and expenses of a profitable pickup installation job.
Mounting a Kent Armstrong Suspended Jazz Pickup Product Instructions I-5068
Mounting a Kent Armstrong Suspended Jazz Pickup
How to mount and wire a Kent Armstrong Suspended Jazz pickup.
New pickups and new sound, with Golden Age Prewired Pickguards Trade Secrets! Issue 87 May 14, 2009
New pickups and new sound, with Golden Age Prewired Pickguards
Erick Coleman responds to a tech call emergency: "This guitar sounds bad, and I'm supposed to record with it tomorrow night!"
None of your beeswax? Potting pickups with paraffin. Trade Secrets! Issue 168 July 05, 2012
None of your beeswax? Potting pickups with paraffin.
Erick Coleman answers a frequently-asked question: how (and why) to wax-pot a pickup.
Pickup winder from Down Under Product Instructions I-PICKUPWINDER
Pickup winder from Down Under
Kevin O'Brien introduces his homemade pickup winder.
PRS Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-PRS
PRS Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for PRS Humbucking pickups.
Railhammer Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-RAILHAMMER
Railhammer Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Railhammer Humbucking pickups.
Right-angle Toggle Switch for 3-Pickup Guitars Product Instructions I-1228
Right-angle Toggle Switch for 3-Pickup Guitars
A lug map of the Right-angle Toggle Switch for 3-Pickup Guitars.
Save time and money with Dan's pickup wiring tips Trade Secrets! Issue 58 April 03, 2008
Save time and money with Dan's pickup wiring tips
Dan Erlewine's upgrading an inexpensive guitar with replacement pickups. The job's got to be done quickly at a low price, so he demonstrates some time-saving tips.
Schaller Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-SCHALLER
Schaller Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Schaller Humbucking pickups.
Schatten Banjo Pickup Installation Instructions Product Instructions I-3919
Schatten Banjo Pickup Installation Instructions
Installation and general operation.
Seymour Duncan Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-DUNCAN
Seymour Duncan Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Seymour Duncan Humbucking pickups.
Watch the Trade Secrets Video, Swapping pickup covers on a rare lefty Lucille
Online video available
Trade Secrets! Issue 229 November 06, 2014
Swapping pickup covers on a rare lefty Lucille
Making new pickups look old: Brand new pickups looked too shiny in this guitar that had seen a lot of gigs. So Dan Erlewine opened the old pickup and put its cover on the new one. This meant cutting the solder joint and resoldering.
Watch the Trade Secrets Video, Sweet Sound of Golden Age Pickups
Online video available
Video
Sweet Sound of Golden Age Pickups
We met country picker extraordinaire Dave Gleason at Deke Dickerson's Guitar Festival in 2012. "These pickups are GREAT. Literally. Very sharp and very deep at the same time. I am sold, they are excellent." Dave gives his Golden Age pickups a sonic workout in this live performance from 2013.
This eBay pickup's a bargain, if you do a bobbin transplant Trade Secrets! Issue 79 January 22, 2009
This eBay pickup's a bargain, if you do a bobbin transplant
Erick Coleman's used pickup sounds great, but a broken baseplate makes it useless unless this bobbin transplant works.
Wax potting pickups Product Instructions A-LINDYFRALIN
Wax potting pickups
Custom pickup builder Lindy Fralin explains the reasoning behind and guidelines to wax potting pickups.
WD/Kent Armstrong Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-ARMSTRONG
WD/Kent Armstrong Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for WD/ Kent Armstrong Humbucking pickups.
Wilkinson Single-coil Pickups for Tele Product Instructions I-0127
Wilkinson Single-coil Pickups for Tele
Wiring diagrams for Wilkinson Single-Coil Pickups for a Tele.
Wiring for Lawrence Research Humbucking Pickups Product Instructions I-1624
Wiring for Lawrence Research Humbucking Pickups
Wiring diagrams and color codes for Lawrence Research Humbucking pickups.